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Fear Not!


Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances from SJPP (3/10 & 10/10); Primitivo (6/12)
It is amazing to read all of the pre-camino fears that people express. Having had a few of my own I wished my camino to be over before it even began, in fact I half considered calling the whole thing off. What a mistake that would have been!

I never contemplated harsh blizzard conditions - described in newspapers as the worst in 50 years, hurricane force winds, unmarked trails, isolation, ankle deep mud and much else during my trek this past March. Had I known that this was to be expected I would have thought it insane to even attempt the camino at least at that time of year. My list of other fears, all with their own merits, paled in comparison.

Folks, if this is your first camino and you have anywhere near the experience that I have had, your fears will be overwhelmed by the unanticipated joys and somewhat indescribable power of the camino. It doesn't matter what the time of year and in most cases what the fears. That is not to ignore the legitamacy of all of the concerns at the onset ... they are very real. But if like most people experience, they will in the end melt away very quickly.

The camino will not become a battle waged against fear but rather become a gift to be forever treasured. Be not afraid!

To all who have yet to set out there is no better way of saying it ...
Buen Camino!
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Very well said. I began my camino exactly eight months ago today. Somedays I wondered if I would make it. Immediately after the camino I was sure that I would not do it again. However, I would go back in a minute and walk. Can't manage it this year and not sure about next year but I feel the camino calling me back.

For anyone contemplating, just go, you will have such a rewarding experience.

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HaHa! As a mom, your words are much like those voiced to ease the fears of expectant moms. They all said it would be tough but worth it. I set out to walk El Camino in 9 days, and as I sit in my comfy home today, with all my creature comforts, I have fleeting thoughts of "OMGosh what am I doing?" Why would I give it up to walk 500 miles across Spain, live in smelly coed dorms with strangers and nasty smells, noises and bugs; walk in the rain, the snow, and the burning sun of the meseta? Why? Because I can! :D
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Thank You Markss!

I began feeling fearful of failing. Now, it doesn't matter so much whether I fail but rather whether I at least begin.

Many pilgrims have been so encouraging. I feel that my planning and my purchased plane ticket are my first steps. Next, I will take those first few days, or even the first week slowly as I listen to my body. That seems to be a recurring theme... begin slowly...

I have been hiking on Badger Mtn. here locally. Last Saturday, I was caught in a hail, thunder, lightening storm while walking a path through 3 electrical towers. All I could think of was, "God, you are calling me to the Camino, you will NOT let me get struck by lightening on this day..." Then I ran through the 3 towers as quick as my poor body would allow... then warmed myself with hot spiced wine afterwards!

Your words ring true. And I believe that something we all share on this forum is this strange, spiritual sense of feeling "called" or "pulled" by the Camino-- something many friends or family are finding difficult to understand. But, I'M SO IN!!! I can't wait to start! 39 days and counting...

Grazie~ Denise
I do not want to sound all "new age" here, but if you think about it, you cannot fail at a pilgrimage. You might not achieve your expectations; you might stop; you might go home early. But how do you actually fail at a pilgrimage? One of the great ideas in Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" is the day he realizes that walking the Appalachian Trail is optional. He stopped walking and the book ends, but many others, when that idea occurs to them, simply keep going in a much relaxed state. Neither fails (or succeeds for that matter). I sense that a great deal of the trepidation expressed in this forum flows from a pilgrim comparing what s/he hopes to do with what others have done. I will get "new age" here: that is a bad place to be, and you should get out of it before you start walking. That's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
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If you believe that pilgrimage is defined primarily by the journey rather than the destination then whether that journey is, geographically or temporally, long or short becomes irrelevant. Viewed from that perspective then the Camino becomes 'permissive' in the best sense of that word, and by being so provides each pilgrim with an opportunity/ties to create and experience not only a 'fail safe' but 'fear safe' environment en route (even if the route is a few steps).

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